Tuesday, July 25, 2017

New & Novel: Debut Fiction

Shelves full of books in a cosy library corner with two empty chairs and a lamp at night University of Toronto Canada Fiction section in Hart house library. Photo. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 May 2016.
quest.eb.com/search/167_3988032/1/167_3988032/cite. Accessed 7 Jul 2017.
For a reader, there’s something magical about picking up a first novel — that promise of discovery, the possibility of finding a new writer whose work you can love for years to come, the likelihood of semi-autobiography for you to mull over. The debut is even more important for the writer — after all, you only get one first impression. Luckily, there are a lot of fantastic first impressions to be had. 
~Emily Temple, "50 of the Greatest Debut Novels Since 1950

Whether you are one of the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 (or even famous before you were 23), Monica Ali (her book Brick Lane was shortlisted for a literary prize while still a manuscript), one-book-wonders like Margaret Mitchell and Emily Brontë, whether you were inspired to write by a writing group (Toni Morrison) or got your start as a translator (Isabel Allende), were first self-published (Virginia Woolf), didn't get your start until you were over 40 (James Michener & Raymond Chandler), or almost became a chaplain instead of a writer (John Green), or if it took you 15 years to write a book (Patrick Rothfuss), it's a big deal to get your first novel published, and especially if you make a big splash. Any of the books on this list (descriptions are taken from the library catalog) could be the next big thing, and many of these authors may have a distinguished career in letters ahead of them! Why not try out some debut fiction today? You might find your new favorite author!

The Windfall by Diksha Basu
"A heartfelt comedy of manners, Diksha Basu's debut novel unfolds the story of a family discovering what it means to make it in modern India."

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan
"When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind in this fiendishly clever debut novel from an award-winning short story writer."

Chemistry by Weike Wang
"A novel about a young Chinese woman whose graduate studies in chemistry go off track and lead her to discover the truths about her goals and desires."

Hum If You Don't Know the Words by Bianca Marais
"...interwoven narratives create a rich and complex tapestry of the emotions and tensions at the heart of Apartheid-era South Africa. Hum if You Don't Know the Words is a beautifully rendered look at loss, racism, and the creation of family."

Sour Heart: Stories by Jenny Zhang
"A debut collection of stories that plunge readers into the tender and chaotic hearts of adolescent girls growing up in New York City, from celebrated poet and National Magazine Award nominee Jenny Zhang."

Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love
"An astonishing debut crime thriller about an unforgettable woman who combines the genius and ferocity of Lisbeth Salander with the ruthless ambition of Walter White." 

What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons
"An elegiac distillation, at once intellectual and visceral, of a young woman's understanding of absence and identity that spans continents and decades, What We Lose heralds the arrival of a virtuosic new voice in fiction."

Sorry to Disrupt the Peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell
"A bleakly comic tour de force that’s by turns poignant, uproariously funny, and viscerally unsettling, this debut novel has shades of Bernhard, Beckett and Bowles—and it announces the singular voice of Patty Yumi Cottrell."

Talon of God by Wesley Snipes
"The acclaimed actor makes his fiction debut with this enthralling urban fantasy in which a holy warrior must convince a doctor with no faith to help stop a powerful demon and his minions from succeeding in creating hell on earth - a thrilling adventure of science and faith, good and evil, damnation and salvation." 

Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett
"How a whip-smart young girl handles the loss of her mother and the reorientation of her family; charming and beautifully written."

Eggshells by Catriona Lally 
"Vivian doesn't feel like she fits in - and never has. As a child, she was so whimsical that her parents told her she was 'left by fairies.' Now, living alone in Dublin, the neighbors treat her like she's crazy, her older sister condescends to her, social workers seem to have registered her as troubled, and she hasn't a friend in the world. So, she decides it's time to change her life."

Sycamore by Bryn Chancellor 
"Sycamore is a coming-of-age story, a mystery, and a moving exploration of the elemental forces that drive human nature--desire, loneliness, grief, love, forgiveness, and hope--as witnessed through the inhabitants of one small Arizona town."

No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts 
"No One Is Coming to Save Us is a revelatory debut from an insightful voice; with echoes of The Great Gatsby, it is an arresting and powerful novel about an extended African American family and their colliding visions of the American Dream. In evocative prose, Stephanie Powell Watts has crafted a full and stunning portrait that combines a universally resonant story with an intimate glimpse into the hearts of one family."

Taduno's Song by Odafe Atogun
"A stunning debut from a fresh Nigerian literary voice: a mesmerizing, deceptively simple, Kafkaesque narrative, resonant of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and lightly informed by the life of Nigerian musical superstar Fela Kuti--a powerful story of love, sacrifice, and courage. " 

My Sister's Bones by Nuala Ellwood
"In the vein of Fiona Barton's The Widow and Renée Knight's Disclaimer, a psychological thriller about a war reporter who returns to her childhood home after her mother's death but becomes convinced that all is not well in the house next door but is what she's seeing real or a symptom of the trauma she suffered in Syria?"

The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi [eBook]
"In the spirit of Khaled Hosseini, Nadia Hashimi and Shilpi Somaya Gowda comes this powerful debut from a talented new voice—a sweeping, emotional journey of two childhood friends in Mumbai, India, whose lives converge only to change forever one fateful night."

The Wages of Sin by Kaite Welsh 
"A page-turning tale of murder, subversion and vice in which a female medical student in Victorian Edinburgh is drawn into a murder investigation when she recognizes one of the corpses in her anatomy lecture."

Sonora by Hannah Lillith Assadi 
"This debut novel by Assadi, a recent MFA grad, is a hypnotic coming-of-age story set in the Southwestern Sonoran Desert and New York City. Like Assadi herself, Ahlam is the daughter of a Palestinian refugee father and an Israeli mother, and her intimate narration carries the reader effortlessly between the past and the present, through a kaleidoscope of memories, as she sits at her father's side in the hospital."

Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolás Obregón
"Nicolás Obregón balances the key components of modern detective fiction seamlessly: a damaged hero, the requisite layer of urban grittiness, a possible love interest, a taunting serial killer and a series of frustrating, misleading clues."

Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser
"Jessica Strawser's Almost Missed You is a powerful story of a mother's love, a husband's betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn't have been kept, and spaces between what's meant to be and what might have been." 

The Girl from Rawblood by Catriona Ward
"Ward's layered and skillfully crafted novel weaves elements of classic gothic and horror into a remarkable story populated by unforgettable characters, palpable atmosphere, and rich lyricism. Imagine the darkest and goriest undertones of Edgar Allan Poe, the Brontës, Charles Dickens, and Shirley Jackson, and you'll have an idea of what Ward offers here."    

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